New clients may be surprised to find out that the reality of therapy can be very different than their idea of therapy. And one of the first things is exactly WHO is the client? The client can be one person, an “individual.” Or the client can be two people, a “couple.” And, finally, the process can even be affected by the personality of the therapist.
Working with a therapist, individually, is the most common form of counseling. And a positive relationship between the therapist and the client is the desired outcome. Ideally a therapeutic bond is formed between two people. A journey is begun. And the therapist and the client travel together. Trust and communication are so important to the process. As is a good fit between the therapist and the client. Over time, a healthy connection will form, with the therapist helping to broaden the client’s own idea of who they are, their place in the community and in the world. And if the alliance is really strong, the client can broaden the therapist’s ideas.
While couples therapy is a lot like individual therapy, it differs as the actual therapeutic relationship is between the couple and the therapist. Another big difference is that there are three people involved in the process. First, the therapist, second, partner one, and, third, partner two. While some therapists will combine individual and couples therapy, I do not, as I believe this leads to a conflict of interest. This is because there is already a bond between the therapist and one of the individuals seeking couples counseling. Best case, there are three therapists for a couple; one for the couples therapy, and one each for each individual therapy.